18 June 2014 | Shadowplayed
B&W Gowns and More
One of the best Yugoslav (Serbian) genre directors (Sveto Mesto, Leptirica) Djordje Kadijevic has always explored the folklore, that's one of his trademarks, so naturally I expected this film to follow the route.... What we get from it, apart from lovely Olivera Katarina (Mark of the Devil) is one moody, very Gothic picture. Young man travels across the country side, but gets a cold shower after having been informed by one of the villagers not to go near the road leading to lonely castle. And no carriage will go there.
But Ivan (the traveler) shrugs it off as superstition and decides to proceed his journey, on foot. To cut a long story short, of course he gets himself into the mysterious castle, being enchanted by its beautiful landlady. From this point on film takes a different route, in the vein of sophisticated and stylish silent films, leaning on shadows, contrasts and atmosphere rather than ominous and threatening words of castle mistress. Her weird lines don't appear to make much sense, their goal is to raise the tension and bring in the poetry: stress the lonely, sad atmosphere some more. Perhaps also point out the mental state of Sibila, the castle owner.
Throughout the film we hear the Virgin Sound, from the title, a strange piano music that lure unsuspecting travelers just like mermaids' song in Greek myth did. We are perfectly aware from the start there's something sinister going on, but what? And what is the source of the Virgin Sound? The finale is very good and creepy. We do learn about Sibila's secrets, and so does Ivan. Very enjoyable, if you can sit back, relax and let the Virgin Sound have its mesmerizing effect on you. 8/10